SATURDAY, JULY 18, 2009 PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER
By Jocelyn R. Uy
NEWLY APPOINTED MARINE COMMANdant Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban vowed yesterday
that Marines based in Sulu would not take a softer line in their pursuit against the Abu Sayyaf bandit group. Saban yesterday took over the highest post in the Philippine Marines as its new commandant. He replaced Maj. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, who is taking command of government
forces in Southwestern Mindanao. But despite his new designation, Sabban will have to fly back to Sulu to continue ongoing offensives against the bandit group while his replacement as chief of Task Force Comet has yet to be named, Sabban told reporters after the turnover rites at the Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig City. "Until such time there is a replacement, I will have to continue my duty. It's very basic in the military that when you are not relieved [from your post], you have to stand your ground," he said. The US-educated top Marine firmly said that government troops on the ground would never relent in going after the Abu Sayyaf. “As what
we have been saying before, there should be no negotiations with terrorists," he added. He said troops on Jolo island were sufficient in number but they needed additional modern equipment to step up the fight against terrorism, Sabban pointed out as he disclosed the military's acquisition of new tools in its mission. ''We are in the process of getting these equipment," he said, but declined to elaborate. Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Philippine National Red Cross, had proposed granting amnesty to elderly Abu Sayyaf leaders but this· was rejected by Malacañang.
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